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Old 05-22-2005, 09:27 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Jordan
Distribution: Debian (Sarge), Ubuntu (6.06)
Posts: 271

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Very Lightweight Distro

I have a old PI (200Mhz) w/16MB RAM, 2GB HDD & 2 NICs

I wanna setup this box to do the following:
DHCP server
Internet Connection Sharing
SSH server

Later on, I might add more disk space and setup NFS.

So, my question is: what is the most lightweight distro/installation that will serve these pruposes while keeping the machine running as smooth as possible (at 16MB RAM). I tried to install FC3 (without all the bells & whistles) but it refused cause it wanted 64MB minimum.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.

PS: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the difficulty of Linux-From-Scratch?
Old 05-22-2005, 01:31 PM   #2
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: Puppy Linux/ Mint
Posts: 210

Rep: Reputation: 31
From the horses mouth

see next post

Last edited by rarsa; 05-22-2005 at 01:35 PM.
Old 05-22-2005, 01:34 PM   #3
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: Puppy Linux/ Mint
Posts: 210

Rep: Reputation: 31
From the horses mouth

I would recommend to go to

and search for minimalist versions. e.g. DSL (Damn Small Linux ) is well supported and will surelly run on your Hardware

Regarding your question about linux from scratch, I think the answer is obvious:It depends on your level of expertise.

In general terms being
1 the easiest way to install linux (buying a computer with linux installed and configured)
10 being the one that requires the most knowledge

Linux-from-scratch is definetivelly a 10. That does not mean that it's difficult if you know what you are doing, just that you need to know a lot.

If you want something that's really customized 'mid of the road': Flexibility to install just what you need + relatively easy to do, I would recomend ,Gentoo . Be aware that you may want to create your gentoo image using a fast computer and then copy it on the slower one as it requires to do very heavy compilations (sometimes taking half day in a decent computer). ,Gentoo requires patience. Make sure that you follow the documentation step by step.

Last edited by rarsa; 05-22-2005 at 01:40 PM.
Old 05-23-2005, 04:14 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Jordan
Distribution: Debian (Sarge), Ubuntu (6.06)
Posts: 271

Original Poster
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Thanks Raul,

will check out DSL....
Old 05-23-2005, 06:09 AM   #5
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Registered: Mar 2004
Location: far enough
Distribution: OS X 10.6.7
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I second gentoo, i have used it on very old pcs and seen it running on dinosaures pretty well. I would recommend that you don't install a graphical interface but use SSH to administrate it.
Old 05-23-2005, 01:11 PM   #6
Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Kent, England
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 19,191
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in Linux-Distributions and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

Linux From Scratch is a seperate distro in it's own right.
Old 05-23-2005, 06:09 PM   #7
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Surprise, AZ
Distribution: Debian | CentOS | Arch
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I would recommend trying SmoothWall.

I have one of very similar specs. except that mine has 32MB of RAM...

It's a very good firewall/NAT-ing Router, DHCP Server, VPN Server, etc..

It's easy to set up and work great. No X installed, all administration is done via web-based interface.. I really like mine, and it sounds like this might be just what you need...

Good Luck!


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